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Tuesday, Nov. 8 | 🌧️ 71°/56°

Happy Election Day! As news people, we both hate and love days like today. There's so much buzz in the air (and smell of free pizza in the newsroom) that it creates a bit of a natural high. But check in with us in about 17 hours when the pizza's cold and our brains are fried and we won't be so excited. There would be no buzz (and probably no free pizza if we actually had a newsroom) if voters didn't do their thing, though. So, from us to you, we beg you to do that thing today, even if it means trudging through the rare rain that's predicted.
🎶 Setting the mood: "CRACK" by India de Beaufort

Leading off: Doubling the capacity of a crucial kitchen

Brian Wachs, president of the Mizell Center Board of Directors, and Laura Castillo, director of nutritional services, punch through drywall, signifying the start of a major kitchen expansion made possible by generous donations.

With a heavy thud and a few laughs, the Mizell Center took a major step forward Monday morning into a future that will see it better able to serve the thousands that pass through its doors each year.

Driving the news: At a groundbreaking of sorts just before 10 a.m., Mizell Board President Brian Wachs and Director of Nutrition Services Laura Castillo each lifted a sledgehammer, then broke through two panels of sheetrock placed against the facility’s kitchen wall. The moment signified that construction of an expanded kitchen will soon begin.

  • “We don’t know exactly when construction will start, but we expect it will be within a few weeks,” said Mizell Executive Director Wes Winter. “This will serve as a symbolic groundbreaking.”
Looking back: The idea to expand the kitchen – from 642 square feet to 1,776 square feet – came to life in 2019. But in March 2020, like much of the world, it “came to a screeching halt,” Winter told invited guests in the adjacent nutrition center.
  • A capital campaign started in April of this year was recently completed, with all $1.3 million raised, including some funds from the city’s Measure J tax.
Why it matters: The portion of the Mizell Center that contains the kitchen was constructed in 1951 and once housed Palm Springs Fire Station 2. At the time, the kitchen was large enough to meet the needs of firefighters who stayed there. Now, the needs of seniors who depend on the kitchen are far greater than when the center opened in 1991.
  • Every day there are not only 60 to 80 people who come to Mizell for meals prepared in the kitchen, but 675 meals are also prepared for distribution via the Meals on Wheels program.
  • During Covid, that number increased to 800, Winter said, adding, “That’s when it hit us – this doesn’t work.”
Going forward: After construction is finished (hopefully by Spring 2023), the new kitchen will more than double the current meal preparation capacity and should allow for kitchen staff to expand from six to 12. Along with the kitchen, Winter said, a locker room for that staff will be built as well as storage space.
  • Architect Chris Mills, who designed the center’s 1991 expansion, has been brought back to to reimagine the space.

In brief: Voters get final say today

Robert Pratt (left) and Richard Rodriguez prepare to assist voters at the Palm Springs Library Monday morning. Pratt is working his ninth election and Rodriguez his second.

With flyers mailed, mud slung, and endorsements secured, candidates for multiple spots on the City Council – and one councilmember seeking higher office – will now wait nervously for you to act: It’s Election Day in Palm Springs and across America.

Driving the news: Three seats on the city’s top governing body are being contested – in districts 1, 2 and 3. In addition, the councilmember in District 4 is hoping to head to Sacramento and a seat in the State Assembly. If that happens, the city will have a vacancy to fill.

  • As of the latest count, 20% of ballots mailed out in the county had already been mailed back.
  • If you didn’t drop your ballot in a mailbox, you are more than welcome to drop it off at one of two drop boxes in the city or cast your vote at one of three voting centers until 8 p.m. tonight.
Details: Of course, races in Palm Springs aren’t the only thing on the ballot. There are multiple county, state, and federal decisions that need to be made, including ballot initiatives on gambling, reproductive rights, flavored tobacco, and more.

Bottom line: While the official certification in Riverside County doesn’t happen until later this month, we should have a fairly accurate picture of how the local races will shape up by late this evening. We’ll be tracking it all live on our Twitter account and will tell you what we know in tomorrow morning’s newsletter.


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The Roundup

🗳️ Curious about things on the ballot in all nine desert cities? Just now cracking open your ballot envelope? Turn here for a procrastinator's guide. (Coachella Valley Reporter)

There's a storm coming, according to forecasters, and you can pick up free sandbags at any Riverside County Fire Department station. (KESQ)

🚒 Two adults were displaced when a travel trailer burned down in North Palm Springs Monday afternoon. (KESQ)

Today's calendar

Palm Springs Sunshine Sisters: Morning Koffi
8 a.m. | Koffi Central

Meet the Sunshine Sisters at the Koffi on Tahquitz for coffee and conversations.

DWA Executive Committee Meeting
8 a.m. | Zoom
The DWA Executive Committee meets this morning online to discuss all things water.

6 p.m. | Zoom

To participate in tonight’s meeting, be sure to send an email to receive the Zoom link. 

PSUSD Board of Education Meeting
6 p.m. | In-person and Online

At tonight’s meeting, there will be special recognitions for Palm Springs Teachers of the Year as well as employees of the month. Check out the rest of the agenda here.

"The Humans" 
Starting Today | 7 p.m. | CVRep
The show runs multiple days through Sunday Nov. 20. Tuesday through Saturday performances start at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees start at 2 p.m. ($58)

Submit Your Event

Looking ahead

Veterans Day Parade
Friday | 3:30 p.m. | Downtown

The parade kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Palm Canyon Drive at Ramon Road and heads north, concluding at Alejo Road.

Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival
Friday-Sunday | Convention Center

The Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with an outstanding lineup during this three-day event. ($50-$315)

Nhojj and Ralph Cole Jr.
Friday | 8 p.m. | Cultural Center

Brothers of the Desert present an evening of music and laughter. Nhojj is a singer, songwriter, and poet. Cole is a comedic actor who had recurring roles in "Dexter," "Two and a Half Men." and "Scrubs."

Memorial Ride
Saturday | 10:30 a.m. | PS Motorsports

Registration for this annual event begins at 8 a.m. and kickstands go up at 10:30 a.m. for a police-escorted motorcycle ride to PSPD headquarters where there will be a short memorial service.

Alton Fitzgerald White
Sunday | 3 p.m. | United Methodist Church
Broadway and Disney songs are on tap during this free concert, “Disney, My Way.” at the Palm Springs United Methodist Church. It's presented by Brothers of the Desert.

See our complete community calendar here.

And finally...

Crime statistics reported by the Palm Springs Police Department show that thefts spiked more than any other crime in the city between 2020 and 2021. And if you hang out on social media, it should come as no surprise that one theft, in particular, is increasing rapidly.

What they’re saying: “Catalytic converter theft is a significant problem in our communities,” PSPD staff wrote on Oct. 26. “The Palm Springs Police Department has seen a recent surge in these thefts and have investigated multiple thefts over the past month.”

  • Thieves are targeting one vehicle the most — the Toyota Prius. 

Why catalytic converters?  “A catalytic converter is a critical component of your car’s exhaust system and can cost up to $4,000 to replace,” police said. “Thieves target it because it contains expensive metals, has a street value of up to $250, and removal can take less than one minute.”

But wait: You can take a few precautionary steps to make it more difficult for the thieves. If you’re able, police recommend parking in a garage or well-lit area, engraving your VIN on your car’s catalytic converter, installing a protection device, or having extra metal welded to your exhaust system, which makes it more difficult to remove.

In case you missed it

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